Transcript: Night of 2/9/13

How do I describe this moment when the bass is too high and I’m entirely alone: on the verge of discovering a new life tenement that is about to burst from within me while I contemplate my life purpose–demanding change. Thriving for it, needing it to sustain my only want to carry on with whatever this thing might be.

Who am I? Why am I here? What is it that has brought me to this point in the grandest scheme of all things?

The answer is coming. Emerging from the tip of my tongue like a lie would from childhood. The bass begins to build and I see myself as bigger than all of this. I see myself looking down on the world–knowing that I don’t belong in it and that I have to dedicate myself in finding a way out from underneath. It suffocates me and tries to bury me between the lines, debt, and bad dreams–things that cause me to cry out into the night for my mother and father. Forcing me to cry to them though silently praying that they don’t hear me and I find another means of escape or acceptance. Maybe I could live through the pain and heartache that’s brought on by these thoughts of inadequacy, disappointment, and a sporadic sense of loneliness that seems to loom over my head eternally.

Yet the violins continue to play and their music anchors me in the midst of this ocean’s revolt against the land. Our time will not need to come again–it has always been here, waiting for us to notice and embrace its arrival. Tonight I begin.Tonight I welcome myself with open arms and commit to the great things that I am destined to accomplish.

I have seen aspects of the future–I live in them willingly. This life is dripping with preparation for our next steps. Hate and intolerance do nothing more than to distract us from our purpose. I will move forward because I know what lies ahead. I will move forward because I am my only enemy. I will move forward because I am only passing through and this moment will not stay.

I will carry on and forge ahead into that which is still unknown to me.

I will move forward.

2/9/13

“The Fall of Man”/ “Tsietsi”

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Train Ride Home

Some of the best advice that I’ve heard (in terms of growing older) is to never lose your childhood innocence, “it is the most important thing (Under the Tuscan Sun, the movie).” As a child, we become accustomed to our spontaneity and creativity–we’re encouraged to nurture these aspects of our true selves because we are children. Sometimes–somewhere along the way–we lose it. Some squelch it and let it die in its infancy, others simply forget that they ever had it. On the rare occasion that this infantile genius, which we all have, actually manages to survive past the beginning o our teenage years, great things can happen. Usually, these imaginative savants are declared visionaries because they are observed pursuing and carrying out their passion, and they they are publicly rewarded. In the Greek, the term is arête: he who is declared as being the best at a specific action and is then recognized as being the best by everyone. But what of those who don’t make it that far? What of those who, seemingly unknown, surpass all expectation and skill that is thought to exist?

There are those who deny statistical likelihoods and are therefore interesting; and there are those who fall short somewhere, but the point that I keep circling around is that, regardless of where we are currently–innovator or not–we all share the same baseline. We are all cut from essentially the same cloth and –if we remove the bits of our histories that ultimately make us who we are–we could logically arrive at the same outcome. The thing that makes the difference is application. Creative people and innovators generally recognize themselves as different, and quietly brilliant, at a very young age; and in contrast, non-creative/ self-proclaimed brilliant people see themselves in that way because they fear the risk and therefore do not apply themselves. What they fail to realize however, is that creativity  and brilliance is not something predestined–it begins with a singular  idea that gnaws at every fiber of the thinker’s being until he puts pen to paper and does everything that he possibly can to subdue it momentarily–to breathe, to think clearly–even if all he wants is to go home and is now sitting on a subway bench, completing his thought, all because he thought that it would be fun to have his own wheelchair after he weighed the cons of being publicly denounced, solving that problem by displaying a sign of the back of the chair that says, “I’m sitting by choice,” and then the pros being a great upper body workout, a physical alternative to walking, and it looking like a lot of fun–all to reclaim the negative connotations associated with being wheelchair bound.

It’s better to be eccentric.

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Selling the Jeep

So let me start off by saying that this was the first video I’ve ever made with this camera so you can view this as a practice run. That being said–my camera recorded the video in 1080p which made it a bitch to edit because the file sizes were so God damn big. So. Don’t judge me too hard because I know the ending cuts

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Why we write – a novel answer

What is the origin of this early inclination, the source of the literary vocation, for inventing beings and stories? The answer, I think, is rebellion. I’m convinced that those who immerse themselves in the lucubration of lives different from their own demonstrate indirectly their rejection and criticism of life as it is, of the real world, and manifest their desire to substitute for it the creations of their imaginations and dreams.

Live to Write - Write to Live

james deanDo you know why you write?

Not the tactical, logical, left-brain reason; but the deep down, can’t-ignore-this-thing, totally irrational reason.

Do you?

Perhaps you don’t need to know why you write. Maybe you are content to take direction from your muse without questioning her motives. You may find exploration of the driving forces behind your work irrelevant.

That’s your prerogative, BUT …

If you unearth the underlying energy that fuels your need to put words down, you can harness that power to infuse your writing with more passion and purpose. Understanding why you are compelled to pick up a pen or set your fingers racing across the keyboard can bring you a higher level of clarity and confidence. It can help you define and prioritize your writing. It can give you direction.

I have often wondered about the “why” behind my own urge to write. I’ve constructed several hypotheses…

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A Realization

I was sitting on the lifeguard chair at work during a shift and I was watching everyone swim. There was this one man maybe thirty-something with a large seriousness about him swimming laps at first until he started twisting and spinning in the deep end. He wasn’t drowning or in distress in any way but I continued to watch him–he was playing. I had seen this man swim in the pool many times before but he had always maintained a certain sense of seriousness about him that made him very unapproachable. Whenever he came in he would simply swim his laps and be on his way but today…today was different. Today he started off like he always had: swimming down to the deep end and then back to the shallow, deep to shallow, deep to shallow but then he began to have fun. He didn’t even care that I was watching him, or might not have even noticed. The highlight of the moment for me was when he held a kickboard out in front of him and started pushing it away and swimming towards it, and then pushing it away and swimming towards it and then putting weight onto the kickboard and submerged it. I had watched him do this a couple times and I knew what he was thinking because I had seen hundreds of kids do this as their first instinct during free swim when there was a kickboard involved. And then finally, he stood on top of the kickboard and looked sideways to the wall and instantly shut out the rest of the world because it was in that moment where he was transported to some far off beach where the surf was just right, where the people were friendly, and where his problems were left tucked in a folder thousands of miles away. He had brought back his playfulness and imagination. He was surfing on the ocean in the middle of a public pool standing on top of a kickboard and I was cheering him on from a guard chair a few feet away as his only spectator.

It was then that I began thinking of how I should approach my life. The idea of time wasted and preparing for the inevitable had already been on my mind due to a video I had to watch in my philosophy class this morning about the ethics behind the death with dignity law. The video ended with a woman–which the documentary had followed through her treatment and decisions after being diagnosed with a terminal form of cancer–take a lethal dosage of seconal which ended her life…on camera…I called my mother as soon as I got out of class because I was not in a good place but needless to say that my future was on my mind. And after seeing the video and the man in the pool rediscover his childhood I made a list right there in my head.

I said, Adam–you need to get out of here, you need to travel, you need to see places and do things and help people and this is how you’re going to do it.

1. You’re going to write; but you’re going to write well and not necessarily everything that comes into your head.

2. You’re going to go to:
-Puerto Rico
-The Bahamas and other islands (which I now want to visit severely because of my friend Morgan)
-New Zealand
-Australia
-Europe

3. You’re going to experience all of their food and the culture and you’re not going to leave these places until you do.

4. You’re going to share your journey and your experiences with the people who you meet

5. You’re going to educate and lead and love and learn and never forget who you are and what you want to do in life.

6. You’re not going to give up on yourself because of something being too hard or something costing too much money–you’ll find a way.

7. You will remember the importance of the people around you and you will not lose sight or direction.

So let today be my first day as each day soon will follow. I don’t know when I will achieve these things or see these places but I will. And knowing that is enough for now.

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The Great What?

yjrr4

“‘So this guy,’ I said, standing in the doorway of the living room. ‘Francis Rabelais. He was this poet. And his last words were ‘I go to seek a Great Perhaps.’ That’s why I’m going. So I don’t have to wait until I die to start seeking a Great Perhaps.’” -Look For Alaska, John Green

This is where the idea stems from. The beginning of one summer, my friend Chantelle told me about this book, Looking For Alaska by John Green and I read it to see what the big deal was and then I read it again because I hadn’t read anything like it since The Perks of Being a Wallflower (which I’m sure I’ll talk about sometime in the future).  And I’m not going to say something mushy like once I read this book everything began to make sense and the clouds parted and the stars seem to mean something again and food suddenly tastes better because that’s bullshit. The Great Perhaps is the pursuit of everything we aspire to achieve in ourselves, it’s the idea of a goal, it’s the idea that we are here for a reason and are supposed to do something with our lives beyond what we think we’re supposed to do, or how we should act.

As much as we refuse to believe it, we are alone for the better portion of our lives–this isn’t to say that that’s a bad thing either, nor was it said to give you the image of a lonely person–it’s just that we spend the better portions of our lives buried in thought. We take in our world and then try to make something out of it, try to find out what we’re supposed to do or who we’re supposed to be and some of us get caught up in the current and end up flowing downstream, others spend their lives fighting the current, and others, still, find themselves standing at the bank of the river unsure of how to jump in.

Now I can’t tell you how to approach the Great Perhaps, nor can I encourage you to pursue one; but the great thing about the Great Perhaps is that it’s pursuit is not a choice we make–we’re on one, regardless of how we approach it–it’s already a part of who we are, and I’m encouraging you to pursue yours. Whether it be sailing across the ocean, travelling to Australia, studying for the MTELs, or planning to do any and all in between, the pursuit of our Great Perhaps allows us to catch a glimpse of ourselves amidst the hustle of our daily lives. It’s the mirror that we hold up to our current image which forces us to keep going.

In pursuit of my Great Perhaps, I’ve created this blog to share my work with friends, family, colleagues, and the occasional onlooker. I encourage you to ask questions, I encourage you to take your own course. I encourage you to be the best version of yourselves in this moment and to never regret anything. Each and every event that you’ve lived through up until this point has made you into the person you are in this moment, and has therefore had more influence on your life than you are currently prepared to realize or accept. We have to own our experiences and accept our past without letting it define us. We came, we saw, we’ve overcome, we live on.

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

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“Reading to my Kids” by Kevin Carey

When they were little I read
to them at night until my tongue
got tired. They would poke me
when I started to nod off after twenty pages
of Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket.
I read (to them) to get them to love reading
but I was never sure if it was working
or if it was just what I was supposed to do.
But one day, my daughter (fifteen then)
was finishing Of Mice and Men in the car
on our way to basketball.
She was at the end when I heard her say,
No, in a familiar frightened voice
and I knew right away where she was.
“Let’s do it now,” Lennie begged,
“Let’s get that place now.”
“Sure, right now. I gotta. We gotta,”
and she started crying, then I started crying,
and I think I saw Steinbeck
in the back seat nodding his head,
and it felt right to me,
like I’d done something right,
and I thought to myself, Keep going,
read it to me, please, please, I can take it.

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I go to seek a Great Perhaps

*This post is post-date September 25, 2013…needless to say, a lot has happened since then. I promise I will update this eventually…

When I was younger and thought about growing up, I always imagined it as a type of switch: one day you’re a kid, the next day you’re an adult. no fuss, no time for reflection, just an immediate acceptance of what you knew was coming. What I‘ve come to find is that growing older is a much slower transition that begins with more and more added responsibilities until the kid that you once were has to wear stilts to match the height of his big boy pants and has to tighten his belt around the pillow he tucked against his belly to fill them out. His tie is too long and the shoulder pads to his suit jacket make it look like he’s wearing armor; but he’ll grow into them. I’ve learned that there are several roads that can be taken at this point. The first is that the boy can simply refuse to grow up, the second is to abandon all the innocence of childhood to make room for what’s perceived as the more adult world. The third is, not surprisingly, more of a mixture of the two and takes the form of becoming a smarter kid. It’s learning to listen and respect your parent’s advice while still being annoyed because they’re right, it’s preparing yourself for the future by pursuing your career while still enjoying a Lion King rerun on TV and remembering all the words. It’s finding the love of your life and building your future together and still being scared to death because you left your safety net back home with your posters and stick-on stars. You can only hope that you’re ready; but at the same time you realize that you have to be, because here you are, 200 miles away unpacking a U-Haul that left your room back home with a faint echo and the walls bare. Today is the day that Brandon and I build a home together. Today is the day that family ties stretch farther than they’ve ever stretched before, the day we unpack boxes and paint the off-white walls of our apartment with their contents. Today is the day I begin to fully appreciate what my parents meant each time they said “you’ll understand when you’re older,” and the day that I finally do. Today more than ever, I go to seek my Great Perhaps and realize that the Great Perhaps isn’t a place or destination but a direction, any direction, forward. 


“Have Ithaka always in your mind.
Your arrival there is what you are destined for.
But don’t in the least hurry the journey.
Better it last for years,
so that when you reach the island you are old,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to give you wealth.
Ithaka gave you a splendid journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She hasn’t anything else to give you.”

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Free Choice 1: A Conversation Overheard

I heard them,

“A lot of it is fear based,” said one to the other.

“Fear based?” said one.

“Fear based.” said the other.

There’s a spent lottery ticket on the

chair,

sitting there,

screaming.

I look around for other witnesses.

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Somewhere

My darling,

There is a star that shines softly and constant through our night

It could be living or dead–but it glows

It’s elaborate, it’s light, as it shines unintruding

 

Entering my eyes

Touching my soul

Warming my heart to think that

somewhere

You might be looking at it too.

 

 

Someday I hope that we should meet.

 

Until then,

I will remain, and shine, and warm your heart,

through your eyes,

and enter your soul,

 

Though I don’t yet know your name.

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And Now For the Honorable Mention

Dear Critics,

I’m trying

Dear Critics,

This is hard.

For all these years I thought poetry involved rhyme

And it does

And it’s easy

Rhyme isn’t hard,

I can do it in my yard

On a tree,

about a bee meeting a flee next to the sea

See I can rhyme well, but about what?

Rhyming involves timing

Rhyming is easy.

But poetry isn’t just rhyme,

I’m learning that now.

Rhyming is for childhood to which I no longer belong

In body; but never in mind for I will always be a child at heart and at thought

-That was close.

I feel differently now that I’m older

–I suddenly feel the urge to say something about a boulder–but I won’t!

I can’t, those days are in the past,

And now is the present; and the beginning of this poem, this thing, this mass of life and words,

is in the past,

And the next line is in the future

And now is the present–the present that I give to you if only you will take it, if only you’ll see     something in it–something that maybe I might see

Now past,

It has passed now but don’t forget it

Don’t forget it because I wrote it as a tribute, a testimony to my effort,

My skill,

My wi–

I’m learning, I’m growing, I’m trying

It’s not that hard, it’s not as if I’m dy–it’s not as if I’m dying.

 

I’ll keep at it.

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Nonsensical Utterings on an Impure Mind

 

This is a statement of thought

Personal, refined, transformed progressionism.

Lick it. Stick it. Mail it away.

Leave no return address so that it stays there.

It’s not important where it went, it just matters that it’s no longer with you

It just matters that you sent it away–

Sent something close to you away to someone else.

 

Nothing gold can stay.

Who said that?

-no clue.

Do you like this style?

Do I care if you do?

 

God, am I whining?

Has it come to this?

 

Are you there? Hello?

 

That’s a question I’ve been asking myself a lot lately

–is it You or just space or both or neither…I wish I could know.

– I fear feeling the answer-

I fear that I’ll find the answer that I don’t want to hear

-That after this comes nothing else, and after that is nothing.

That everything is simply cyclical and lacks soul–that we might as well be antelope eating grass so that when we’re eaten we’ll become the grass and–you know how it goes, we’ve all seen the movie.

 

To imagine, this fate, or rather lack thereof

-I can’t.

I refuse.

You have no say

I refuse.

You have no say

I refuse.

You have-

            I can’t know the answer.

Okay.

 

These are things that need to be said

These are things trapped inside my head

And as I think them, I write them, and as I write them I think of more to write and so the cycle continues endlessly until I reach the end, or a conclusion, or question.

 

Is it cliché to write this way?

Has it been done before?

 

Sure but is it poetry?

I don’t know–why ask? Why do you have to ask? Why not feel? Feel the words,

The rhythm–

Enjoy it. There are so few things left that are purely for us.

 

Sometimes I wish that I could write something that would make other’s jaws drop

Other times I wonder why I care about the jaws of other’s

And then I remember that we’re all connected

And then I think as to why that is

And then I realize that I’ll never know; but  I don’t need to because we are, and knowing that is enough.

 

 

 

 

 


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Category Five

Jack, it’s over between us

“A storm is coming! A storm is coming!”

It’s been like this for a while and I just can’t do it anymore

“Prepare yourselves!”

There’s someone else.

“Lookout!” the tides broke through and flooded the boardwalk and receded.

Jack?

The last thing I remember, I was standing at the breaking point, standing at the edge wondering if it was worth it, wondering–

Jack.

If it would just take me without forcing me to decide.

Are you there?

Waiting.

Are you there?

Waiting.

Jack?

The tide broke through

It’s over.

The floodgates

There’s someone else

Is it worth it?

It’s-is it-over.-worth it?

Jack.

Storm.

I’m sorry–No you’re not, you’ve been fucking him all along!

Gail-force winds

Why would you do this – how could you do – do you know how hard it was to-

The water receded

To find someone like you

It bombarded the beach

To

Flooded the pier

Love?

Never stopped

Jack?

Just kept going

It’s over.

Over the pier

Goodbye.

Flood.

 

The receiver fell. Worst storm on record.

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How did this happen?

Years spent avoiding stares and looks

A lifetime spent dedicated to never being one of them

Hours spent thinking if he would ever come along

Praying that he didn’t

Years spent watching others break down and fall and get back up again as different people

With chocolate and ice cream and dripping mascara

A lifetime spent nervous as to how this all plays out

 

And then it happens

And then he came along

And he is everything

And we had only just met

And I find myself confused

And longing

And disgusted that I let this happen

And excited at the same time because finally–finally I could be one to find this joy

Except with this joy come more questions and thoughts of future togetherness.

 

I wish it all made sense.          And yet, I’m glad that it doesn’t.

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Free Choice 3

You are someone whom I could love falling in love with. Someone whose breath rises and falls with the same crescendo of life that first drew me toward your hand. And when that breath recedes mine too falls, slowly awaiting the return of life with life. And when you take that final breath, mine too will cease to rise and fall with the same purpose as it did when we were but two beings who clumsily became one at no fault of their own or will to stop it or knowledge as to how this could have happened.

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Free Choice 2

I am an image of an old man with his dogs running around his feet

He lives in the woods, away from “Breaking News;”

He hates television, he hates the news, he loves his companions, he wants nothing else.

I am an image of a man and his lover

His broad shoulders, the small of his back, the birth mark

on his chest, right above the nipple–his eyes, his smile, his laughter

echoing until three in the morning–the softness of it, the balance,

and my knees weakening in his presence.

I am an image of a boy in his fortress, his castle with a moat

freshly installed with four new crocodiles shipped from Africa

-and a Hippo!

I dare you, you neighborhood intruders, siege my castle and meet

your peril, for

I am the Captain of

the pirate ship.

Pan! I’m coming for you and your boys; but later for,

I am terrified of the monsters in my closet, but

everyone needs a home. Mother comes in to quiet them down.

I am an image of a newborn babe,

everything is new and the floor is always cold.

I am a man, in a bed, with his family around him.

There he is, and my son, and my daughters

My friends,

My lovers,

And there is my love, coming again to take me away with him.

I am

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